all right. airline stocks there's all sorts of competition going on who was going to be in this deal and who wassant going to be in this deal and the latest we have right now is that usairways will not be talking with united airlines about a merger. stock is lower. that leaves the golden goose continental for the taking. and in today's street poll. we asked mark -- >> didn't have to trade power and performance would you buy a battery-operated car and you said, yes. >> if you didn't have to. >> if you didn't have to trade power or performance. >> but you do. >> but you do. that's an inconvenient truth, huh? >> that is an inconvenient truth. aren't they all? tonight you'll learn more about
it, mark. "beyond the barrel." >> yes, the race to fuel the future. this is at 8:00 p.m. tonight. see where we really stand where it comes to battery-powered cars, solar power and wind energy and beyond. please, folks, i'm begging you. tune in and watch this special. because our producer produced it and he will be morosed if the ratings aren't good. we'll see you tomorrow. good morning, everyone. welcome to "the call." i'm trish regan and we are 90 minutes into today's session. market trade lower off 79 pointsd right now on the dow as greece's problems continue to worsen. hey, larry. >> bank issues, too. i'm larry kudlow, everyone. president obama to deliver a key speech on financial regulation reform. we are live on the ground at cooper union in new york city. hey, melissa. >> i'm melissa francis as home
prices continue to fall, we are going to ask, is it better to rent or buy right now? this is "the call" on cnbc. stocks opening lower as traders turn their attention back to greece as the eu reveals the country's budget problems are worse than they feared but it came off the lows and strong housing data and we'll have more on that in just a few minutes. s&p trading to the down side by about eight points. 1,196. the dow is trading to the downside, too, although off lows of the session. you can see it was worse right after the open and we climb down a bit. the nasdaq is trading down by 15, 0.6% and 2489. let's take a look at the european markets since we were talking about greece and what a big impact it was having. all the major indices overseas are down quite a bit. trish, what's happening on the floor? >> melissa, everybody's waiting
for president obama, of course, to begin his scolding of wall street. as we wait for that, a lot of people talking about what about the role of the other players in this? we won't hear much from the president likely today about the role of the american consumer and all this, but the reality is you had a lot of people going out and taking out mortgages they couldn't just plain afford. one of the roles should be to create a more fiscally responsible, creative consumer that doesn't take on more than they can chew. the canadian mortgage market. when you look at canada, almost the same home ownership level that we do. i want to point out a few things. bob is here to join me in this discussion. in canada, no such thing as foreclosing and walking away. you just can't hand in the keys and say that's the end of it. no such thing as a full recourse loan. the other thing is that there's no tax deduction. you don't have an artificial
incentive to get into a home loan and the other biggy is that there is no such thing as a fannie and a freddie. again, no artificial incentives to help prop up that housing market and, bob, we know that the canadian housing market has not seen anywhere near the problems nor have the canadian banks that the u.s. housing market. when you talk about regulation, it's important to look at some of these other things in addition to regulating the banks. things to be done to create incentives for the american consumer. >> i will not bash fannie and freddie to quite that extent. fannie was controversial since the beginning. it was designed to create liquidity and it did that. it served the housing market and mortgage market for decades. they went a little bit beyond their mandates to get involved in subprime mortgages. >> that, plus the tax deduction and the heavy days of the market will keep going up, up, up. no realization of what happens when the market goes down. after all, if you can turn in
the keys and walk away, no sweat. maybe it hurts your credit record but other than that not much of a problem. in canada they can garnish your wages. let's move on to greece. another thing clearly affecting this market this morning. >> when you have the two-year at 11%, we have gone beyond talking about is the imf going to get involved. of course, they're going to get involved. at this point they're talking about a structure and the imf gets involved and they get them 3% for short-term issues and push out all the maturities and force some kind of restructuring at this point and that seems to be the talk right now. >> some earnings disappointment and excitement and disappointments out there, as well. >> nokia, why was anyone surprised they were getting intense competition from apple and blackberry, i don't know. it's been hit rather seriously here today. a couple disappointments on the other ones.
i saw good news from auto pacific. >> okay, bob pisani, thank you so much. i'll kick it back over to larry kudlow. >> thanks, kids, very much. existing home sales did rise more than expected in march that reverses three months of declib and diane oolick joins us with all the details. hello, diana. >> hello, larry. we did see a big healthy bump up in existing home sales in march and you can probably thank the home buyer tax credit which expires a week from tomorrow. that's take a look at the numbers. existing home sales rising 6.8% to 3.5 million annualized units in march. median existing home price at 1,170. what i want to take a look at is these inventory numbers. when you talk about month supply, the month supply came down from 8.5 months to 8 months because you had a growing sales
pace but, also, when you look at what happened last summer, that is in july, you saw a real high raw inventoryidata and then you saw that come down december, january, but february and march bumping up again. why? probably two reasons. number one, you have the spring market. sellers hoping to get in on this market and hoping to get in on the extension of that home buyer tax credit and also increased foreclosures in the pipeline. we know this that the realtors tell us that 19% of the market and cash buyers 27% share of the market and distressed homes foreclosures making up 30% of all home sales in march. foreclosures feeding the pipeline and we'll wait and see what happens after the tax credit expires. will we hold on to these gains or see a dropoff, yet again, as foreclosures increase. go to the blog. back to you, trish. >> is it better to buy or rent your home right now? let's bring in adam and alan and
thanks to both of you for joining us. i would ask you first what is the reaction to the data today and what does it mean about prices? have prices bottomed? adam, what do you think? >> it's garbage, these are steroids. these are steroids put in the market. it's going to fall. it's guaranteed that home prices will fall for the following reasons. number one, interest rates are at zero. the buyer, a 30-year fixed buyer is paying over 35%. those are have to go up. that means sellers will have to sell their homes for less. number two, the inventory. banks and the government have been refraining from doing foreclosures. and the foreclosures that they're doing are hurting, are keeping inventory out of the market. so, until those homes have new buyers, we do not have the entire flood of inventory that is going to hit, that is going
to guarantee prices are going down. if you only buy for five years, this is a horrible time to buy. >> thinks that prices will go lower i always had a theory when interest rates go up higher buyers come off the sidelines because they think a bottom has been put in and i have to get while the getting is good and that will drive prices higher. i disagree with adam, what do you think? >> i disagree with you and i disagree with adam. the confidence on the street, we see buyers coming in and every day we're seeing more. the last three years seems the credit crunch and we're looking at lehman brother since september '08, but, again, if we're looking at the whole country the credit crunch it's already at three years. it's a cycle. people feel it. there was a confidence out there. the market starts to stabilize and we already show the market going down 25% to 45% down. since the last summer and confidence, i think the market
going back to stabilize. i don't know if we'll see like what we saw in the past, but definitely stabilize market and normal market and the confidence. >> so, adam, we have a debate about prices. that's an important debate. let me make sure, you're saying rent. is that where you come out, rent? >> rent temporarily. if you believe in the american dream, which isn't just buying a home and getting a home and that's the american dream, it's having enough money to buy a home one day. that's what we know is the american dream. if you can afford a home and if you have the savings and you have a reserve and you can make the 20% down payment and if you can afford the attorney fees, the bank fees, the engineer fees and all the fees included in buying a home and then once you bought a home the yearly taxes, the yearly maintenance. what happens if the roof breaks? who's paying for it? if you have the ability to buy and you have that money, then you have to make a decision on
where the market is going to go, whether you think it is going to do better or not. >> so, ilan, do you have a response to that? are you more optimistic about the market are you telling people to buy? is this the right time to buy? the trouble with this, as you know my friend, this is a regional issue. the national stuff is very difficult. some cities got hit much, much harder than other cities. can you generalize on a buy versus rent matrix? >> definitely. i think the buyers today are smaller. nothing is going to come back. nothing changed. it's all going to go back to what it used to be be. they will not take mortgage higher than what they can afford. it's supposed to be new expectation. it's not like it used to be. >> isn't the basic decision,
though, gentlemen, that you're supposed to be looking at it was a given a long time ago if you bought a house, that was the way to go and home prices were going to go up and that was a smart decision. is the equity in your house going to grow faster than the money you lose on the friction cost whether that's the taxes you pay when you're buying and selling. it's whatever you pay for your mortgages and whatever you pay to move furniture. the equity in your house has to rise faster than all of these fixed costs that you're just dumping into the house, right? >> remember, if you're buying for 30 years and you believe in america, you still would buy a home. interest rates are very low. interest rates being low, you're buying it for very cheap. if you buy for five years can compare the cost of renting, you don't have any fees or roof repairs or taxes comparing to buying now for five years. >> not going to go up 20%. >> my crystal ball at least goes out five years unless you're getting an incredible deal.
which if you work hard enough unlike in stocks, insider trading and real estate is condoned. >> if you're renting and you put an option to buy, that's my point. if you already need to rent, put an option to buy. >> thank you for joining us, we really appreciate it. blackstone group and continental sinking today. up next president obama near wall street this hour to make his case for overhauling our financial system. we'll head live to the cooper union in lower manhattan for cnbc special coverage.
welcome back, everyone. president obama in new york city at this hour preparing to go into the lion's den. he is getting ready to speak at cooper union about two miles from wall street on his plan to reform our financial system. cnbc has live team coverage of this event. carl, tell us what is the mood down there? what are people talking about? >> well, right now they're talking about the fact that this event is about to get started. we have some choppers overhead and just saw mayor bloomberg enter cooper with his entourage and a lot of speculation on how
chilly the president will be. here's the cover of "the post." dear mr. president, don't kill the golden goose. one of the talking points of the rnc is 200 west booked referring to the goldman sachs headquarters. he didn't go to wall street and that's on purpose. >> this audience that he is addressing is designed to be a bit of a main street audience. he is trying to make the case that these are the people who would be affected if we don't pass financial regulation reform. but the president is going to try to sell the argument that this is health food for the golden goose, that if, in fact, we pass this reform, there will be greater trust and confidence in wall street because people will understand what they're buying and what's being sold and the system will be healthier. not an easy argument to sell here, but easier on wall street. >> john, let me just ask you.
let's go back to the mayor bloomberg stuff. he has been very outspoken in recent days, including "the new york post." he is saying some of these regulations may be very good but for banks in new york higher taxes and a lot of trading limits are not going to be good. the bank stocks fell sharply yesterday. they're soft this morning. where do you think the president is going to go? will he be at all sensitive to this new york consideration and you know what, john, the derivative reform does seem to favor chicago over new york, as well. will the president be sensitive to this? >> i think he will be sensitive in some areas and less sensitive in others, larry. when i talk to democrats on the hill, they intend to push that later in the year, not as part of the financial regulation reform but on derivatives he didn't go as far as you know with his administration in proposing blanch linken and the
agriculture committee did to say the major wall street institutions have to spit off the derivative trading disks. in fact, they could stay where they are and that's a potential area for compromise in this bill. >> but the bank tax coming back like a bad many, that triggered a big corruption in the stock market last january. >> i'm surprised that was resurrected. >> i interviewed senator durbin last night, john, after your clips with obama and durbin said we are going to go for a bank tax and new york senator chuck schumer is for the bank tax. i don't really get that. >> it's interesting, when you talk, carl, to people out there in main street america, i'm talking about people who don't live in new york city and people who don't have any connection to this world of financial, when they hear that there is trouble like there seems to be with the sec at goldman sachs, they get very nervous. in part, number one, they don't understand it and, number two, all they remember is the last
time we had a bank in trouble, lehman brothers the whole system unraveled. a lot of americans out there who are very nervous about what's going on. how critical do you think it is politically to get through finance regulation to somewhat calm some of these main street fears? i all. >> they have a large part of the american public behind them conceptionally and i would be interesting to see whether he mentions fanny or freddy or credit rating agencies and at least some kind of round two to all of us. >> not all wall street. good on you. good on you. >> we were reading that lloyd blankfein is expected to be there in person. are we expecting other people, as well, from the banking community that supported him in the past. does he still have the same
level of support on wall street that he did when he was elected? >> i think, melissa, he has somewhat less support than he did when he was running for election against george w. bush. i don't know whether jaime dimon will be here. there will be business executives and wall street types. the president's speech, in fact, makes a reference that some of you in the audience working against this bill. it's broader than that, as well. and on larry's point about carl raising fannie and freddie, the administration says they're going to tackle fannie and freddie, just not this round. >> you know, fannie, freddie and the average consumer that went out there and took on responsibilities they couldn't afford at the end of the day. >> i'm just saying wall street made mistakes, no two ways about it. >> we'll leave it there, gentlemen, thank you so much. just a reminder that president obama is set to speak on financial regulation reform coming up at 11:55 a.m. eastern.
this is not larry kudlow. in fact, it is bring your kids to work day. this is my son thompson. he's in charge here today. what do you think? do you want to say hi to larry. >> hi! >> one little skin, one little bump. >> well done. he's about as good a predictor of the market as any of the rest of us i would say at this point. we asked him before if he liked higher taxes or lower taxes? what do you think? >> lower taxes. >> just to be honest he said higher taxes last time.
>> i hear what i want to hear. we are spawning a new generation of supply siders and we have another one on the way. it's going to be unbelievable. >> all right, yes, from one thompson to another, let's go to mary thompson who joins us with blackstone group's latest results. >> there is my namesake. the apaal doesn't fall far from the tree. melissa, we were just listening in on the conference call being held by blackstone. the company providing some upbeat comments as it reverses a loss from the year ago quarter thanks to a stronger economy. on the conference call, ceo stephen schwartzman saying good growth in the emerging market as the developing markets remain a mixed bag. the risk of a double-dip recession has abated but a long way to go before unemployment declines. that being said, investors are a bit more optimistic. >> investor appetite for risk has been increasing across marke
markets, in part, due to a search for yield in a sustained low-interest rate environment. >> now excluding its ipo costs blackstone earned 32 cents a share in the quarter. higher net income and private equity and hedge funds and returned to profitability contributing to that turn around. since the second half of last year, blackstone's private equity arm is closed or finalizing 12 offerings or dividends that will pay twice what they were marked at a year ago. last year it said, excuse me last quarter it said 1.3 billion of new money 60% of it in the emerging markets and the firm has set up a $1 billion fund to buy small and large banks. in real estate, blackstone invested $1.1 billion since the first quarter mostly in distressed and overleveraged properties and overall the market is improving. as for its firm tony james saying on an earlier call some big investors like pension funds are increasing alternatives like blackstones because they need to
generate higher returns to meet their commitments as schwartzman mentioned on the call. blackstone's investors still under water since the 2007 ipo and can expect a 10 cents a share payout through the fourth quarter. the fourth quarter dividend will be linked to profits to the deals finalized by the company throughout the rest of the year. now over to larry and tyler at earnings central. >> i am joined by tyler mathisen with new news on earning central. hello, ty. >> we come back to that whole story of the health care charges taking place, once again, in verizon. figuring in to those results there. the results kind of, i would have to say, i would characterize them as lackluster. let's go to the videotape. there you see the stock down 53 cents right now. the eps, the revenues, basically a match. okay. but the profit was down from a year ago to $2.3 billion from 3.2. one reason why was that $970
million charge that verizon announced in the quarter to offset the impact of the health care provisions. now, the issues here for verizon are how many people are they signing up to buy their telephones. those numbers were a little less favorable by comparison with the ones that at&t announced yesterday. but here as you look at the stock, at&t and verizon are the ones in the sort of ocher and maroon, if you look there. >> any breakdown on the retail consumer buying with the iphones and what not versus business buying? >> the iphone is mostly, mostly a retail thing and they were picking up at&t was picking up more customers relatively in the first quarter than verizon. here you see the stock is basically flat, look, that's not on fire and i don't know why it did that. we'll clear that son of a gun out of there. we'll move on to continental with news moving in just the past hour that affects this company and you can see the stock is now down a nickel.
it was down more earlier. the profits were lower, but the revenue number was pretty good. why were the profits lower? worse than expected because of bad weather and higher fuel costs. the company says it will now explore its strategic options in light of the ending of the usair/united air wrai talks. they won't go any further than that right now. that will do it. >> tyler mathisen, thanks very much. i'll toss it over to trish. >> hey, larry. melissa, thompson is adorable. what a little cutie. >> he is destroying my desk right now. >> tell him i said hi. when we come back, president obama in lower manhattan getting ready to speak about reforming wall street. we'll find out what traders want to heart and the best way to play. plus, amazon.com set to report earnings. will apple's ipad take a big bite out of kindle's sales?
trish regan, i want to get you caught up on these markets here. a lot of concerns about greece weighing on the markets today. moody's coming out lowering the credit rating for greece. this, of course, following fitch which had already done this. the s&p 500 trading off ten points. at 11.95. i want to point out we have the president speaking momentarily and we are seeing some down side pretty much in all the
financials as they await the president's speech. nasdaq also in the red, down 20 points, a loss of 0.8%. also, let's flip over here to the european markets. you can see they're all under pressure and all closing lower amid these concerns about greece. of course, the bond yields are going up on greece right now. now, we are just minutes away from president obama's speech on the need to reform wall street. so, what do traders want to hear and what should your investment play be here? we want to ask scott and also steven wood chief market strategist. good to see you guys. let me begin with dan. if i was going to invest in the financial sector, i would imagine i have to be somewhat concerned here about the ability of these banks to continue earning like they have in the past, if, in fact, the president is very strict and we see some kind of significant regulation come out of capitol hill. >> right. i think you'd be right on.
the market hits uncertainty, that's one of the basic tenants of trading and right now that's really what we've got. we got headline risk for all the big firms like goldman and jpmorgan and morgan stanley not so much. on the regional side, those regional banks will have a tougher time meeting these regulations and there's an exemption, then, guess what, they're not part of the $500 billion whatever it turns out to be insurance program that these big firms have. so, it's going to make their borrowing costs go up. >> steven, the financial regulation being proposed right now do you think it is going too far in terms of being an inhibiter to the bank's profitability in the future or do you think this is something that is needed at this point in time? >> i think it's something that is going to happen and if you look at the positions that we had in financials coming into summer 2009, we were overweight and kind of bleeding those overweights off, you know, as
the stocks themselves have done well. but i think what is going to be the most telling factor of this and really put teeth is a so-called regulatory arbitrage. we need to be very careful if there is meaningful change that the united states needs to coordinate with europe and coordinate with asia. we need to have a becausal 3 or bosal 3.1. i think it's a lot of proposals but i think the effectiveness of the implementation -- what we saw, larry and trish, with sarbane oxley a number of years ago a lot of listings that would have taken place in new york went to london and hong kong. so, that, i think, is going to be where the rubber meets the road and global implementation. >> dan, weigh in for me on greece. greece back in the tank today. interest rates have blown sky high and the two-year note is over 10% and they got an inverted curve, so, that's a recession call. the dollarand a little
whiff of deflation. how do you read it? >> greece is going to have to be bailed out. 10% yield i don't think they're high enough when you're basically giving your money away. that's something that is really of a concern to me and it has been for a while and, really, you think about it, isn't that a har binger of things to come over here because we're running along the same track, spending money and providing entitlements that we really can't pay for. it sounds great in theory, everybody should be getting, you know, everything that they want. but that's just not the way of the world. by the way, i have a new term for you, larry. domestic terrorism because that's what we're doing with the financial firms. >> as trish pointed out quite correctly, the big guys, even though i happen to approve some of these regulatory policies, particularly derivatives and swaps on the exchanges with transparency, it will hurt the big guy. steve, let me just ask you this. the index, we don't talk about yet this morning, producer
prices, up really big. 0.7%. this is essentially a commodity price inflation proxy. up 6% in the last three months and you go down the list, consumer goods. they're all up. does that inform you in any way, i never hear much talk about the ppi and i never hear much talk about commodity inflation and i just wonder. where are you going on this one? >> i think if you look at the more normalized numbers inflation is relatively contained. but more importantly, larry, i have seen ben and larry on debates that they believe that inflation is going to be tepid and tame and policy will follow that perspective. i would have to agree 18 months on in inflation doesn't seem to be a big issue. three to five years doesn't become a concern but we're chewing up so much capital globally that we're about hitting the break even point and inflation is always a consideration but right now i'll go where policy is likely to take us and that is epretty
accommodative. >> ppi up 6% year to date. up 6%, nobody wants to look at it. the core ppi, i'm sorry the crude ppi is up 33%. it's got commodity inflation written all over it. nobody wants to look at it. >> sorry, guys, we have to leave it there. we have the president speaking momentarily. we have to head over to that. all right, still ahead, president obama set to make his closing arguments for reforming wall street. his speech live from lower manhattan. up next, the spotlight on tech earnings as investors zero in on microsoft and amazon. what investors can expect from these tech titans. be right back. when, who, how, where, how much? we've heard the promises for years, decades, in fact. solar power, wind energy, algae, batteries, seaweed.
nokia first quarter earnings missed expectation and look at where the stock is trading right now, off 14 plus percent. investors get more clues today about the state of the tech sector with microsoft's latest earnings. amazon.com releasing numbers after the bell. amazon and microsoft shares. amazon trading higher on the day so far by about 0.3% and microsoft taking a hit down better than 1%. bureau chief jim goldman joins us with more on what analysts are expecting from the two titans. you have a special guest there, as well. >> do you see it, too? 9 years old and when you're talking about earnings. let's get to these numbers, melissa. two companies just a short drive away from each other in the northwest. let's begin with microsoft.
headline numbers to watch for, 42 cents a share on $14.4 billion. jeb here thinks microsoft is capable of beating by a penny, maybe two. these are frothy times for the world's biggest software maker and the windows upgrade cycle doing very well and x-box 360 news later in the year and office 2010 enterprise upgrade coming in just a few short weeks. the windows business should do $4.2 billion server and tools 3.7 billion. online services $575 million. business division $4.3 billion and entertainment and devices $1.7 billion and that's home to x-box, though. jeb here is a big wii fan, nonetheless. intel and ibm, every indication that microsoft should continue the rally. the big news this morning is kindle's availability at target stores. the street looking for 61 cents on nearly $7 billion in revenue. ebay worst than expected guidance has some analysts
worrying if the company is consumer softness or its issues are its own in the current quarter. that could have an effect on amazon after the bell. techczech.cnbc.com. jeb is a supply sider and firmly in favor of school vouchers, which i found interesting. we were talking about that on the drive. so, yeah, interesting times. >> very, very nice. good good to see both of you. >> good to be with you. up next, president obama live at the cooper union in lower manhattan getting ready to speak about his plan to overhaul our financial system. cnbc is all over it with special coverage. >> kids are so cute! it all begins on the other side of this break. you don't want to miss it. you're watching cnbc and first in business worldwide.
welcome to cnbc special coverage of the president's remarks on financial regulatory reform i'm john quintnia with john harwood. we'll take you inside to listen to the president who just arrived maybe 30, 40 seconds ago with his motorcade and his entourage. a lot of speculation about what he's going to say, the tone of his speech today. we'll take you live and talk about the color of his speech, the kinds of opposition he still faces even as some argue he's
facing less and less opposition to passage of the bill in some form, john. >> you can feel the republicans coming closer to a deal. the statements from mitch mcconnell the republican leader a few days ago who was talking about a solid wall of opposition saying the negotiations are serious and richard shelby 85% of the way there and democrats tell me that they're also feeling close to a deal. looks like you'll have a prosiegeual vote on monday and looking promising for what the president wants to do, although still some dealmaking and compromises to be made. >> you interviewed him yesterday, what can you gleam in the way of avenues in which he is willing to give. the political winds seem to be at his back. sec goldman and sec looking at lehman debt masking over quarters. things like that. >> he offered some nuance there. bla blanche lincoln opposition from her left in arkansas proposed that extremely tough derivatives bill that would force major wall street institutions to spin off
their derivatives debts. the president told me yesterday he did not necessarily favor that, that his core principal is about transparency and making sure that buyer and selling both know exactly what's going on and that's the way you protect the consumer, not as important where that desk lies. >> explain the politics around this speech and the atmospherics because it's not on wall street, but it's close. he invited some bankers, but not all are agreeing to attend. we are expecting some members of goldman and possibly gary cohn. what are they trying to say with the staging of all of this? >> in part they want to feel going into new york and going into wall street where this whole institution, this industry is based. but they also want some of main street. so, you have some ordinary americans so the president can say here are the people who would be affected if we don't pass financial reform. try to humanize this story and make people understand it's not just about his relationship with wall street, it's about the rest
of america's relationship with wall street. >> he came in september, and that largely was on wall street that speech and that was considered to a large degree a scolding. is this going to be like that? >> i ink the it's going to be a little different because what was notable about that speech, as you suggest, they got scolded and they sat on their hands and not a very enthusiastic audience and you will expect some more applause lines in here given who is sitting in front of him but this administration knows as you suggested the wind is at their back, they're in a phase now, the last chapter of this debate in the senate, at least, trying to bring this to a close and signs are looking good. >> want to bring in ron, of course, the st. louis investor firm we all know about and talk with on a daily basis. good to have you, welcome. >> good morning, how are you? >> we're good. i'm curious to know your point of view because on the one hand you're in the sector that you could argue is being targeted. on the other hand, they're really targeting some of the big
guns and to the degree they lose, you could argue you win. >> well, i don't think, first of all, i don't believe that. what i'm concerned about. we are going to have financial services reform. the problem is going to be, in my opinion, a 1,300-page bill when we really need to deal with some very basic, simple issues that need to be resolved. simple solutions to complex problems is what i think we need to have here. first of all, i have to tell you, we got a deal with derivatives. derivatives is a decade old phenomenon and we have to have a central clearing house for derivatives. >> ron? >> yes. >> let me stop you there because here is the president of the united states. >> thank you, it is good to be back. it is good to be back in new york and good to be back in the great hall in cooper union. we've got some special guests here that i want to acnology.
congresswoman carolyn maloney is here in the house. governor david paterson is here. attorney general andrew cuomo. state comp troller thomases napoli is here. the mayor of new york city, michael bloomberg. dr. george campbell jr., president of cooper union. and all the citywide elected officials who are here, thank you very much for your attendance. it is wonderful to be back in cooper union where generations of leaders and citizens have
come to defend their ideas and contest their differences. it's also good to be back in lower manhattan, a few blocks from wall street. it really is good to be back. because wall street is the heart of our nation's financial sector. now, since i last spoke here two years ago, our country has been through a terrible trial. more than 8 million people lost their jobs. countless small businesses have had to shut their doors and trillions of dollars in savings have been lost, forcing seniors to put off retirement, young people to postpone college, entrepreneurs to give up on the dream of starting a company. as a nation we were forced to take unprecedented steps to rescue the financial system and the broader economy.
as a result of the decisions we made, some of which, let's face it, very unpopular. we are seeing hopeful signs. a little more than one year ago we were losing an average of 750,000 jobs each month. today america is adding jobs again. one year ago the economy was shrinking rapidly and today the economy is growing. in fact, we've seen the fastest turn around in growth in nearly three decades. but you're here and i'm here because we have more work to do. until this progress is felt, not just on wall street, but on main street, we can't be satisfied. until the millions of our neighbors who are looking for work can find a job and wages are growing at a meaningful pace, we may be able to claim a
technical recovery, but we will not have truly recovered. even as we seek to revive this economy, it's also incumbent on us to rebuild it stronger than before. we don't want an economy that has the same weaknesses that led to this crisis. that means addressing some of the underlying problems that led to this turmoil and devastation in the first place. now, one of the most significant contributors to this recession was a financial crisis as dire as any we've known in generations. at least through the '30s. and that crisis was born of a failure of responsibility. from wall street all the way to washington that brought down many of the world's largest financial firms and nearly dragged our economy into a second grade depression. it was that failure of responsibility that i spoke about when i came to new york more than two years ago, before the worst of the crisis had
unfolded. was back in 2007. i take no satisfaction in noting that my comments then have largely been worn out by the events that follow. but i repeat what i said then because it is essential that we learn the lessons from this crisis so we don't doom our selves to repeat it. make no mistake. that is exactly what will happen if we allow this moment to pass. and that's an outcome that is unacceptable to me and it's unacceptable to you, the american people. as i said on this stage two years ago, i believe in the power of the free market. i believe in a strong financial sector that helps people to raise capital and get loans and invest their savings.
that's part of what has made america what it is. but a free market was never meant to be a free license to take whatever you can get, however you can get it. that's what happened too often in the years leading up to this crisis. some, and let me be clear, not all, but some on wall street forgot that behind every dollar traded or leveraged there is a family looking to buy a house or pay for an education. open a business. save for retirement. what happens on wall street has real consequences across the country. across our economy. i've also spoken before about the need to build a new foundation for economic growth in the 21st century and given the importance of the financial sector, wall street reform is an absolutely essential part of that foundation. without it, our house will continue to sit on shifting
sands. and our families, businesses and the global economy will be vulnerable to future crises. that's why i feel so strongly that we need to enact a set of updated, common sense rules to ensure accountability on wall street and to protect consumers in our financial system. now, here's the good news. the comprehensive plan to achieve these reforms has already passed the house of representatives. a senate version is currently being debated drawing on ideas from democrats and republicans. both b